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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in US, global migratory fish populations.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial, while both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Retired MT Attorneys Provide Pro Bono Legal Advice

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Monday, February 13, 2023   

For their next act in life, retired attorneys in Montana are providing free legal advice on civil matters over the phone.

The Second Act Justice Project from the Montana Legal Services Association recruits emeritus volunteers - that is, lawyers who are retired but have active attorney status - so they can provide pro bono advice for low income Montanans.

Dan McLean is one of about 70 active volunteers. He practiced for 38 years and specializes in trusts, estates and elder law.

"It allows me to use my expertise, use my background, my training to help people," said McLean. "And that's why I became a lawyer was to help people, and so I can still do that. And it's so gratifying because the people are grateful for the advice they get."

McLean said the people he helps have told him his advise has demystified the legal process.

The program is especially helpful in rural areas where fewer attorneys are available, since advice is given over the phone.

While the right to an attorney is guaranteed in criminal cases, that's not the same in civil cases.

Ellie Webster is the pro bono coordinator at the Montana Legal Services Association. She said the program provides crucial help in these cases.

"Those are things that affect your housing, divorces, parenting plans, adoptions, etc," said Webster. "You're not entitled an attorney. So, essentially, if you cannot afford an attorney, you're out of luck. So that's where we come in."

McLean encouraged other retired attorneys in Montana to get involved in the program.

"It's one of those things that keeps you active in retirement," said McLean. "It keeps you involved and that's important. I spent years getting trained and years practicing and I don't want to give up all that expertise and knowledge.



Disclosure: Montana Legal Services Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Human Rights/Racial Justice, Poverty Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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